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Regd Trustees, L.C. N. v. Obot

 

THE REGISTERED TRUSTEES OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH OF NIGERIA

V

ASUQUO AKPAN OBOT

COURT OF APPEAL

( CALABAR DIVISION )

K. BAYANG AKAAHS JCA ( Presided and Read the Lead Judgment )


NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA JCA

MOJEED ADEKUNLE OWOADE JCA

CA/C/17/2001

MONDAY, 9 JUNE 2008

APPEAL - Grounds of appeal - Mandatoriness of relating to judgment being appealed against and need for issue for determination to be formulated from ground of appeal

APPEAL - Right of appeal against final decision - Constitutionality of -  Failure to exercise such right within period prescribed therefor - Effect - Section 241(a) 1999 Constitution and section 24(2) Court of Appeal Act considered

MASTER AND SERVANT - Employment without statutory flavour - How may be terminated

STATUTE - Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 , section 241(a) and Court of Appeal Act, section 24(2) - Final decision - Right of appeal against - Constitutionality of - Failure to exercise within statutorily prescribed time for - Whether abrogates the right

Issue:

Whether the respondent remains an employee of the appellant in the circumstances of this case.

Facts:

The plaintiff was an employee of Lutheran Hospital (renamed Immanuel General Hospital). The hospital was taken over by South Eastern State Government. The plaintiff subsequently travelled to United States of America (U.S.A.) on study leave with pay. The South Eastern State (now renamed Cross River State) continued to pay his salary during the period of the training. In 1981, the hospital notified him in writing of the discontinuance of his salary. He returned in 1985 and wrote the hospital for re-absorption. He was directed to contact the defendant. In 1986, the hospital was handed over to the defendant. The plaintiff thereafter instituted an action claiming ten million naira from the defendant as general damages for breach of employment for failure and/or refusal or neglect to pay his salaries and other entitlements since 1 July 1981. The trial court granted plaintiff’s claims.

Aggrieved, the defendant appealed to the Court of Appeal. The plaintiff filed a preliminary objection challenging competence of the appeal.

In determination of the appeal, the Court of Appeal considered the following statutes:

Health Services Management Board Law, Cap. 49, Vol. III, Laws of Cross River State, 1975, section 4(d) which provides:

“4.       Subject to the provisions of this Law, the Board shall...

(d) appoint, confirm appointment, promote, post and exercise disciplinary control over its staff, provided that the Board may, subject to any conditions it may impose, delegate any or all of its powers under this paragraph in respect of staff on salary grade levels 01 to the relevant District Management Committee.” Edict No. 3 of 1986:

“3. The management and control of medical institutions listed in the schedule hereto, which were built and owned by voluntary agencies before the establishment of the Board shall by virtue of this Edict, be taken over by such voluntary agencies and those voluntary agencies shall in their discretion retain or close down those medical institutions.

5(1) Any voluntary agency taking over a medical institution by virtue of this Edict, shall from the commencement of this Edict, be responsible for the salaries and other allowances of any such person working in such medical institution, and such persons shall be employees of such voluntary agencies in all respect.”